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Apple has a solution to underpowered MacBook Pro graphics: fix it yourself

Apple earlier this week announced that a bunch of Mac products are in the works and you can expect them to launch this year. But the company’s top execs also made additional comments meant to reassure fans that the Mac line isn’t going away anytime soon. Hidden in those remarks lies a gem that indicates Apple is perfectly okay with you upgrading your MacBook’s graphics performance yourself, which should be great news to Mac tinkerers.

“I think they have a place,” Apple’s Craig Federighi said when TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino asked him about Apple’s philosophy on external GPUs.

With that simple answer, the top boss at Apple’s software engineering division solved the matter for the time being.

Ever since the MacBook Pro (2016) came out last fall, some people criticized the laptop’s lack of sufficient RAM and its inferior graphics card. But users quickly discovered they can use external GPUs to turn the MacBook Pro into even more powerful computers.

The advantages of hooking up an external GPU card to a MacBook Pro are multiple. You can keep upgrading the GPU in time and enjoy a richer graphics performance without worrying about battery life consumption.

The downside is that you have to spend additional cash on an enclosure for said GPUs and for the GPUs themselves. Not to mention that this system works only in “desktop” mode, as you can’t really take that external GPU with you on the road.

However, the fact that Apple will not seek to actively block your efforts to use external GPU is a good sign. Sure, you do need to know what you’re doing, and enabling external GPU does require some knowledge of how Mac works, but Federighi’s short comment is a reassurance that Apple won’t take additional steps to block such monstrosities in future Sierra updates.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.